What a beautifully written piece about what it means to love fully and walk with genuineness before God. "Letting virtue garnish your thoughts is a call to avoid self-deception. It’s an invitation to self-awareness, self-acceptance, and complete honesty."
As I thought I was approaching death, I realized with stunning clarity that there are two things that will give you confidence to meet God and two things only: (1) charity for all and (2) virtue. “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men … and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; THEN shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.” (D&C 121:45.) This comes from a text recorded in 1839.
What did the word “virtue” mean at that time? While I am still trying to crystalize its meaning in my mind, one thing of which I am certain is that “virtue” did not have the primary meaning we assign to it today—the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice. That was only a tertiary meaning. “Virtue” meant something quite different. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary entry for virtue gives, as its primary meaning, “1. Strength; that substance or quality of physical bodies, by which they act and produce effects on other bodies.”
The Latin root from which the word derives—virtus—"was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth.” As I put these concepts together it seems that in 1839 “virtue” meant something more akin to the modern usage of the word “integrity.”